MicroHarvest

MicroHarvest

Nutrients that feed the world


A resilient food system, using the power of microorganisms

Entrepreneurs
Kate Bekers, Luisa Cruz, Jonathan Roberz

Founded
2021

Partnered
2022

HQ
Hamburg, Germany

Category
Innovating Agriculture Transformation Processes


Smaller, better, faster.

Global demand for protein is in the range of hundreds of million tons per year. This value is growing beyond what our current production systems can deliver. MicroHarvest is leveraging nature’s most efficient bacteria to make better, healthier and tastier protein. With their novel production system for single cell protein, they address the pressing need for sustainable alternatives to meet the growing global protein demand. The company directly tackles the growing demand for alternative protein ingredients for human food, a $14Bn market.

MicroHarvest’s proprietary technology enables the production of protein using bacteria at a speed and efficiency that greatly exceeds existing approaches. MicroHarvest’s production speed is unparalleled: raw materials can be turned into final protein products within a single day (compared to months for plant-based or animal protein).

Being able to ramp up production quickly is key to becoming a relevant player in the B2B ingredients market. It enables decentralized production of sustainable, nutritious, high-quality and safe protein. Their ‘elegantly simple’ fermentation technology approach can be scaled in a decentralized way to produce single-cell proteins for different use cases varying from pet and human food to animal feed.

MicroHarvest is led by highly complementary founders. CEO Kate Bekers combines both biotech expertise and business development acumen, CTO Luisa Cruz spent her entire academic and professional career in bioprocessing and COO Jonathan Roberz has been successful as an entrepreneur since graduating high school.

At scale, MicroHarvest products can become a significant contributor to the urgently needed transition towards sustainable, affordable proteins. In addition, the decentralized production empowers the development towards more food independence and supply chain resilience.

Standing Ovation

Standing Ovation

Where the wonders of science meet traditional cheese-making


Standing Ovation makes delicious dairy cheese that’s animal-free and lactose-free.

Founders
Frédéric Pâques, Romain Chayot

Founded
2020

Partnered
2021

HQ
Paris, France

Category
Innovating Agrifood Transformation Processes


Real cheese without cows, by manufacturing caseins through fermentation

Standing Ovation develops animal and lactose-free substitutes for cheese and dairy products, using dairy proteins produced by precision fermentation. Thanks to a simple but innovative process, the company produces caseins, without any recourse to animal products. All of the components of cheese can be found in sources other than animal milk, except for caseins – the proteins that give cheese its unique taste, texture and aroma. Unfortunately, caseins are notoriously tricky to make which is why current alternatives fall short of animal-based cheese in terms of taste, nutrition and texture.

Caseins are not only the major proteins in milk (over 80%), but also the proteins that allow it to curdle and give cheese its functional melting and stretching characteristics. Standing Ovation has shown that these caseins can then be used, with other products of vegetal or mineral origin, to obtain true replicas of cheese products.

Romain Chayot (left) and Frédéric Pâques (right), Standing Ovation co-founders

Global protein demand, and animal protein in particular, is increasing dramatically with a rapidly growing global population and global diets shifting towards animal-based products. However, there are clear environmental benefits in finding viable alternatives to animal-based products: cattle and dairy cows are one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, and livestock takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land while producing only 20% of the world’s supply of calories. To produce 1 liter of animal milk, 144 liters of water are needed. Cheese in particular produces among the highest emissions per kg of product – around 24kg of CO2eq to be precise.
 
The founders are experienced biotechnologists in the field of precision fermentation, who have surrounded themselves with specialists in the food and cheese industries. With their expertise, Standing Ovation was able to develop a truly innovative technological process that represents a paradigm shift for the animal-free dairy market.

Planetary

Planetary

Scaling the new food evolution

Building the bioreactor capacity the food industry needs

Entrepreneurs
David Brandes, Ian Marison

Founded
2021

Partnered
2022

HQ
Cologny, Switzerland

Category
Innovating Agrifood Transformation Processes


Bringing fermentation capabilities to scale

Planetary is enabling the scaling of the protein revolution by providing fermentation capabilities for the future. Their technology is laser-focused on scaling global upstream and downstream fermentation capacity to unlock the potential of alternative protein products. Because fermentation-based alternate protein production is today still a young industry with many companies in early phases of R&D, Planetary is building the bioreactor capacity to help these companies scale rapidly. 

Within the food space alone, fermentation tech promises to deliver sustainable and functional replacements for meats, milk, cheese, eggs and more. Fermentation technology is hailed as the holy grail of alternative protein, but today only 5% of the total global fermentation capacity is designed for food products, with most of it being already contracted for the foreseeable future.

It is predicted that by 2030, between 10% and 20% of all meat, dairy, eggs and seafood consumed will be of alternative origin, but in order to make these projections a reality, bioprocessing capacity needs to be built, scaled, and made available at an affordable price globally.  

Led by experts in bioprocessing, engineering, product formulations and food economics, Planetary’s technology is essential to creating the alternative protein products that can meet consumer demand for taste and nutrition, overcoming the current unmet needs. Through scaling biotech enabled alternatives into a global network of sustainably ran bio fermenters of 200,000 to 500,000 liters of production capacity each by 2030, their solution will be a key piece to the future of protein

David Brandes
CEO and Co-Founder

Astanor is a not merely a financial investor but a true partner who understands and supports the need for building novel food production infrastructure to feed 10 billion by 2050 without destroying the planet.

Umiami

Umiami

The world’s first plant-based whole cuts

On a mission to offer 100% meat-free products without any compromise.

Entrepreneurs
Tristan Maurel, Martin Habfast

Founded
2020

Partnered
2022

HQ
Paris, France

Category
Innovating Agrifood Transformation Processes


Unlocking the future of protein texturization


Umiami’s “umisation” process, a breakthrough plant protein texturizing process, provides a new experience in plant-based foods, with a better taste, a texture truly comparable to that of animal meat, a better nutritional profile, and a clean label, while maintaining an accessible price point. 

While consumers in today’s supermarkets have a plethora of plant-based options to choose from, what’s markedly missing from grocery aisles is whole cuts: steak, chicken breast, whole fish filet – consumers’ favorite meat choices.


Umami’s unique protein texturizing process, “umisation”, provides control of fiber size, direction and thickness, allowing Umiami to produce delicious and convincing whole cuts, unlocking a whole new world of plant-based possibilities.

Founded in 2020 by Tristan Maurel and Martin Habfast, Umiami was created to provide a healthy, nutritious, reasonably priced alternative for meat-lovers who want to reduce their meat consumption.

Umiami’s B2B distribution model allows them to focus on research and development and provides a clear path to scaling the company’s impact across the globe. The Umiami team is young and impressive, with a laser sharp focus on the hurdles facing the advancement of the plant-based market. They are poised to lead the next generation of alternative protein companies driving a future of food that is nutritious, delicious and accessible to all.
 

Stockeld Dreamery

Stockeld Dreamery

The plant-based revolution moves to the cheese plate

Stockeld Dreamery is challenging the food status quo with plant-based alternatives, starting with cheese.

Entrepreneurs
Sorosh Tavakoli, Anja Leissner

Founded
2019

Partnered
2019

HQ
Stockholm, Sweden

Category
Innovating Agrifood Transformation Processes


Re-inventing the foods we love

Consumer are demanding plant-based alternatives across all food and beverage segments. Cheese alone represents a $60b market, but existing alternatives fall woefully short of cheese lovers’ expectations and demand for plant-based alternatives that are delicious, nutritious and made from ingredients that are both natural and part of a climate-positive food system.
Today, the traditional dairy industry uses 3,000 litres of water and 12m2 cropland per year to produce 1kg of cheese. In the process, ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands and forests, are put under unsustainable pressure which could be eased through transitioning to a more diverse, plant-based diet.

In early 2019, Sorosh Tavakoli and Anja Leissner, founded Stockeld Dreamery (formerly Noquo Foods). The duo combine the skills of a successful second time entrepreneur, a passionate food scientist and the ambition to build a science-based food company and brand fit for a new generation and changing planet. Their mission is to reduce environmental footprint, animal suffering and improve health through a plant-based cheese product that delivers on taste, price, convenience and transparency. So too do they want to delight the 70% of the world’s population that is lactose intolerant (Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine).

Stockeld Dreamery is well positioned to benefit from the strong tailwinds of their market niche: a powerful combination of growing transparency, environmental and social challenges (ranging from high carbon footprint, to antibiotic use and resistance and high fat/low nutrition), preference for plant-based products and rejection of animal-based products. For these reasons, consumer demand for the products Stockeld Dreamery is developing is primed and burgeoning. They have a strong foundation of research and learning behind them that’s shaping their focus going forward.

Sorosh Tavakoli
CEO

Deciding to work with Astanor easy given my engagement with them, but also the complete alignment around the challenges with our food system and the opportunities that follows with it.